School Closures and Coronavirus – Top Tips
The Coronavirus (Covid-19) has changed the way we live our lives and has instilled a level of fear that happens only once in a generation. School closures nationwide came into effect on 13th March 2020. And while we face many months of uncertainty and change, some good things will come out of all of this. It makes us realise what’s really important in life, family, and health.
With the schools closures and the whole of Ireland on semi-lockdown, we should look to the positives. While it may seem daunting, we get to spend more time with the people we love the most, our children, and we should make the most of it.
Here are our top tips to ensure a happy few weeks ahead for all the family!
Make sure to keep a routine every day. Get up and dressed as normal. Most schools have provided children with work they can do at home. It’s best to do this in the morning to keep with the school routine.
It’s important for everyone to get some exercise and fresh air every day (otherwise we will go mad!). Whether it’s a walk to the park or a cycle fresh air is encouraged and is the best way to release pent-up energy from being at home all day. Be mindful of the social distancing guidelines and so for this reason playgrounds are not advised.
Here is a link to 10@10, daily 10-minute exercise videos for children: https://rtejr.rte.ie/10at10/
There are a number of free online resources to help keep school-going children busy.
Go Noodle: A huge selection of free videos, including dancing, exercise, meditation and reflection activities. Something for everyone. https://www.gonoodle.com/
Nessy: Sign up for the free 1 month trial of Nessy. Nessy programs are designed to help students of all abilities learn to read, write, spell and type. https://www.nessy.com/uk/
Prodigy Maths: This is a free maths challenge game suitable for pupils from 1st to 6th class https://www.prodigygame.com/
Hour of code: This site gives access to a wide range of coding activities for all levels. Many are free (some require a subscription) https://hourofcode.com/ie
Top Marks website: Huge selection of learning games covering all the curricular areas. https://www.topmarks.co.uk/
The current guidelines are that playdates and parties are to be avoided. While they are not banned, public health and medical experts have advised against them as children are vectors for Covid-19 meaning they can be asymptomatic but still carriers of the virus. Indoor play centres should be avoided.
We should encourage children to entertain themselves as we did a generation ago. It stimulates the mind and encourages creativity. This could be anything from baking, arts, and crafts, painting or outdoor play.
What should I tell my children about Coronavirus?
Children are going to be naturally curious about the coronavirus and will more than likely ask questions. The Department of Education issued some good advice for talking to children about the virus and can be found here
It’s important we acknowledge their fear and admit we are all a little worried about the virus. Allow them to express their worries and reassure them that the doctors are working hard to find a cure. It’s also important to maintain a routine and reassure them that during their time off school you will spend lots of time together and you will plan lots of fun things to do.